Saturday, December 31, 2016

Bauer Bunch Best Of {2016}

It's been real, 2016, but it's time to throw away our calendars and not look back.

Okay... maybe we'll look just a little bit.

Today I am sharing my favorite blog posts published over the last 365 days. I know this does not reflect the most visited posts or the most shared posts, but this list is important to me. I carefully clicked through every month and searched the thousands of words I've thrown into cyber space. I sifted through until I had a collection of the ones that meant the most to me. Below are my Top Ten posts about parenting, about gardening, about growing older, and about life being more than what is seen on Facebook. It's a veritable collection of topics, arranged in no particular order.

While my family and I drive a few counties over to up our New Year's Eve drink game from one bottle of sparkling grape juice, why not take a peek? There are many, many hours until the ball drops and I figured you could use some reading material until then. Let me know which post was your favorite in the comments, and I'll see y'all next year!

{Click the title or the photo to link to each full post.}

Nora Today
My little Nora is a creature of habit. Each day when the sun is peeking through the eastern treeline, I carefully open Nora's bedroom door. With a freshly popped waffle in hand, my first step is to open her blinds and let the light find mounds of toys and discarded dresses. I peer into the crib that holds four fake babies and one real one. When the smile spreads across her face and her blanket covers the rest of it, I know it's showtime.

Don't Apologize
Today I'm here with a handful of parenting advice you didn't ask for. You're welcome. Don't push that red X in the corner just yet, though. I'm not touting the miracles of breast/bottle feeding or ticking off a list of ways you've probably screwed up your kid. I'm here to do the opposite. I have a simple message I've been led to share after perusing my Facebook news feed: please don't apologize.

Spring Chickens
Sure signs spring is around the corner: there are boots by the door, seeds on the counter, and chickens in the kitchen. Allow me to to introduce you to the newest members of the Bauer Bunch. Wearing springtime yellow are Sunshine, Lemon, Popcorn, and Hobby Pig {see Owen's birthday post}. The fabulously stylish girls in stripes are Cinderella, Beyonce, and Sofia the Second.

Picture-Perfect Vacation
A picture's worth a thousand words, right? If you kept an eye on my Instagram this weekend, you witnessed copious amounts of beachfront posts. The wispy clouds framed Owen standing patiently by the shore. You saw Nora, pink sunglasses in place, at bliss inches from the gorgeous sand. There were no signs of jellyfish sting remedy vigorously rubbed on thighs nor a single midnight meltdown.

No One Else
Today marks a decade since Jonathan and I shared our first kiss as man and wife. There was a unity candle, a white train that trailed behind my fidgety body, calla lilies that filled the church with perfume, and age-old chords blasting from a piano. It was a gorgeous wedding, but a wedding does not a marriage make. I loved that day, but sitting down to write about our tenth anniversary, white gowns and gold bands do not come to mind.

Backyard Beauty
The garden in our back yard is getting good, y'all. The long row of cucumbers has each of my kids pacing, lifting all the leaves to see if they can spy the biggest one. The sunflowers are opening up and turning their faces toward the light. The tomato rows are full and we've already sliced up a few to enjoy that first homegrown bite {though the cherry tomatoes can't seem to make it indoors}. It's a gorgeous garden year at the Bauer House.

Life Lessons at 32
Today is not just any June Wednesday hot enough to melt thighs on leather seats. It's my birthday! *cue falling confetti and balloons* I have been part of my parents' lives for 32 years as of noon today. While doing in-depth research for this post, I found some startling facts. Exactly half my life ago, I drove my sweet, blue Mustang around as a 16-year-old, free to travel where I pleased and play Backstreet Boys CDs as loud as I wanted.

Brothers Back To School
A lump rose in my throat as I waited in a car line that felt more like a parking lot. Yesterday marked the start of school for the Bauer boys and my first afternoon stop was fourth-grade. As my car crawled beside the school, I saw a sea of students. Some seemed much taller and more mature than I expected {I guess sixth grade does that to a kid?}. Then I saw Nathan's wide smile.

Memory Lane
When we took the first exit into Conway Saturday morning, I was lost. New businesses, new restaurants, and more churches rose from places that used to be grass. Many areas felt unfamiliar, but that happens when you leave a growing town for seven years. We now toted kids instead of dorm room essentials through streets we traveled a thousand times. Once we made it to our friends' neighborhood, Owen spoke up.

Be Nice
"Say you're sorry for yelling at me, Mom. No, say it nicely this time." Through gritted teeth and at the sake of both mine and my loving three-year-old's sanity, I apologize once again while we wait parked in the car line. There's nowhere to run. There's nowhere to hide. Who knows what brought my sweet, motherly demeanor to its breaking point.

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